Welcome to the Lax All Stars 2021 PLL Rookie Spotlights series!
The PLL College Draft was held April 26, introducing 32 players into the PLL fold. The league’s training camp is set for May 28 through June 3 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts, to determine the final rosters of the eight teams for the 2021 campaign.
Not all 32 of these players will make a team, but right now, the dream is alive for them all. We’re counting down the days until the PLL opens up its training camp by delving deep into every player selected in the 2021 PLL College Draft, with two players included in each post, with help from Ryder Cochrane, Ryan Conwell, Nick Zoroya, and Nick Pietras.
Next up: Justin Anderson and Jackson Morrill.
2021 PLL Rookie Spotlights: Justin Anderson & Jackson Morrill
School: North Carolina
Who drafted him & when: Justin Anderson was selected No. 20 overall (Round 3, Pick 4) by Chrome LC.
Is this about where he was expected to go: Justin Anderson has been very consistent during his five years at North Carolina. It’s hard to find that level of consistency at the college level, especially when playing in the ACC. History has shown that if a player puts up consistent numbers in the ACC, they will transition over well to the PLL, especially coming out of UNC. Coach Breschi has a strong track record of producing professional-level talent such as Chris Cloutier, Jack Rowlett, and Stephen Kelley, just to name a few. The third and fourth rounds are very unpredictable. It’s tough to evaluate talent after the first and second rounds.
That said, I think Anderson falling to the third was a steal for Chrome LC. While he may not be an immediate starter, Anderson definitely has the potential to fill a role on Chrome’s roster.
What are the main skills he brings to the team: Justin Anderson is a role player, and I mean that with the utmost respect. I would consider him to be a jack of all trades but a master of none. He scores goals, racks up assists, gets ground balls, and causes turnovers. While he doesn’t lead the team in any of these categories, his ability to do all of these things is very impressive. There aren’t many true midfielders anymore as the midfield position now tends to be considered strictly offensive or defensive focused – Anderson is the last of a dying breed.
Anderson can compete on a consistent basis, which has been shown over the past five years. He’s started 61 of the 63 games he has played in as a Tar Heel, only missing two contests his freshman year. His experience and on-field IQ alone justifies him a spot on a PLL roster. While he may not be the flashiest player, he has proven that he understands the game and can perform in any situation.
How’s the fit: The Chrome midfield is old, and there is no other way around it. The average age of a Chrome midfielder is 30, with its youngest player being Will Haus coming in at a spry 28 years of age. The Chrome midfield is filled with seasoned veterans like Jeremey Thompson, Ned Crotty, and Jordan MacIntosh. Justin Anderson on the Chrome makes perfect sense as he is put in a position to learn from some of the best while still being able to make an impact on the field. While he may have fallen through the cracks on other PLL rosters, the Chrome really seems like the best fit for the incoming rookie.
Who’s the competition & what are the odds he makes the team: I don’t think Justin Anderson has any real competition on the Chrome’s roster. He can certainly go toe-to-toe with most of these players with his ability to play both sides of the ball being the icing on the cake. I see him securing a roster spot and filling any role needed on the team with the potential to really shine in years to come.
Who drafted him & when: Jackson Morrill was selected No. 28 overall (Round 4, Pick 4) by Chrome LC.
Is this about where he was expected to go: I’m truly amazed that Jackson Morrill fell this low in the draft. He ranks second at Yale in career points with 220 and is fifth in goals with 113. Morrill finished his graduate year at Denver with 33 goals and 37 assists. He has been on the Tewaaraton watchlist for three straight years and been a consistent Second or Third Team All-American.
Still, he was never really on anyone’s radar for this draft. A few mock drafts had him going late in the fourth round, but he never was really considered to go any higher.
What are the main skills he brings to the team: Jackson Morrill is an interesting lacrosse player with a very unique skill set. He primarily is a midrange scorer with the potential to score from range. I wouldn’t consider him a deep-threat nor would I consider him an inside scorer. Almost all of his goals come from five to 10 yards out with the occasional goal from the crease. Morrill can certainly place the ball where he sees fit but doesn’t really have the size to shoot contested shots. He isn’t the strongest dodger nor is he a very physical player as he normally faces little contact when shooting. One thing that is undisputed is his ability to read the field and make the correct pass. He has no issue finding the open man and can definitely fit a QB style role from X; Morrill has averaged 39 assists in his last three seasons. However, it will be interesting to see how he carries over to the professional ranks. It doesn’t seem like he has a diverse enough skillset to compete at the next level.
How’s the fit: The fit is extremely questionable, to say the least. The Chrome’s attack line is loaded with the likes of Jordan Wolf, Justin Guterding, Brendan Kavanagh, Matt Gaudet and more. With the addition of Colin Heacock and Randy Staats, it becomes more difficult to see where Morrill fits into the equation. I can’t really wrap my head around this draft pick as the Chrome very easily could have added some more depth to their midfield.
Who’s the competition & what are the odds he makes the team: I think Jackson Morrill is a very good college player, but I don’t think he is suited to play at a professional level. He currently is very limited with his skillset, and I feel he has a low ceiling with where he can go. The Chrome currently don’t need him on their roster, so it becomes difficult to justify giving him a official roster spot.
More PLL Roster Spotlights
There will be plenty of PLL Rookie Spotlights to check out between now and the start of training camp. You can find information about the incoming rookie class here.